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The white-Left Part 1: The two meanings of white

Sunday, May 8, 2022

The white-Left lost Roe v. Wade 6 years ago

Truth be told, Roe v. Wade was lost in the 2016 US presidential election. With the court already one Justice short, and a few more likely to retire in the next presidential term, it was clear that the next president would likely have a decisive and long-lasting effect on the composition of the Supreme Court. 

One of the two possible winners was an authoritarian white supremacist man who promised to pick Justices committed to overthrowing Roe v. Wade, the other was a woman with a long history in Democratic politics that would have made very different Supreme Court picks.

Roe v Wade was lost when enough progressives in three states, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, voted for Jill Stein—another Putin-supported candidate, one with no chance of winning, to allow Donald Trump to beat Hilary Clinton, and become the president of the United States.

a December 2015 fete in Moscow
Green Party supporters of Jill Stein pushed the mantra "Don't Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils," meaning, don't vote for Hillary Clinton. This allowed the greater evil to win. And it wasn't just the Greens, most leftists focused their fire on Hillary Clinton, while belittling the faults of Donald Trump. Unlike the Right, almost no one on the Left raised the importance of the question of who would shape the Supreme Court. To do so would have been bad for the line they were promoting. 

With at-least three Supremes likely to be replaced by the next president, the question of any difference it might make in who replaced them played virtually no role in their campaign to deny Clinton votes. "Vote Your Conscious, Or Don't Vote At All," they shouted with the Democracy Now megaphone. All the while, the other guy was promising to give us just what we got. How does that "feel good" vote feel now?

Whatever Hillary Clinton's faults, I don't think she would have picked Justices bent on overturning Roe v. Wade. In 2016, members of the white-Left made it their mission to deny her the White House. In this they succeeded. They also lost our last best chance of keeping Roe v. Wade from being overturned. We now likely face the arduous task of restoring a right lost because of the way some progressives used their vote in 2016. Let's please learn from this mistake moving forward.

Clay Claiborne

8 May 2022

My posts on the 2016 US Election

Monday, May 2, 2022

How Democracy Now's half-truths on Mariupol help Putin

For more than two months now, Mariupol has stood like the Stalingrad of this war, some have called it Ukraine's Alamo. For all that time, its brave defenders have refused to surrender, even as Putin's forces pounded this once-beautiful seaside city of four hundred thousand into rubble, and then pounded the rumble into dust. For more than two months it's been reported that Mariupol would fall—any day, any hour. But it has stood! Now, it is all but conquered, as the remaining defenders are hunkered down in the underground bowels of the Azovstal Steel Works with an estimated thousand civilians, mostly women and children, and the elderly. There are still another estimated hundred thousand civilians left in Russian-controlled Mariupol, and satellite photos are discovering new mass graves daily. The joke of it is that this city in eastern Ukraine is largely Russian-ethnic, Russian-speaking—the very people Putin claimed he was saving from genocide with his invasion.

On Saturday, representatives from the ICRC arrived in Mariupol with buses and ambulances to began the evacuation of civilians from beneath the steel mill.  The Russian's have agreed to allow the Red Cross evacuation to traverse Russian-held territory 227 km. to Ukrainian held Zaporizhzhia.

Given how duplicitous the Russians have been, when it comes to setting up, and honoring, humanitarian corridors, not only in Ukraine, but also earlier in Syria, seasoned observers know not to pop the cork on the champagne bottle before those evacuees are safely at their donation. This trip would have taken 3 hr 14 min before the Russian invasion, and as on this publication, they aren't there yet, it's hoped they [all] will arrive tomorrow. But there are also reports that some have been diverted to Russian-held territory, and even Russia itself. Russia has done this before

But, never mind all that, this is the way Amy Goodman reported on the Azovstal evacuation on Democracy Now this morning, you'd thought it was a done deal. She spoke of it four times in this show. In Headlines, she said:

The Ukrainian government says about 100 civilians have been able to evacuate the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol after the United Nations helped establish what it described as a “safe passage operation.” One evacuee said she had been staying inside a basement in the steel plant for two months after her home was destroyed.

Natalya Tsyntomirska: “We lived in the basement starting from the 27th of February. We didn’t leave the basement because our house is in close proximity to Azovstal. The whole time we were shelled with mines, and then airstrikes started. Our house is completely destroyed. We have a two-story building. It’s not there anymore. It burned to the ground.”

Hundreds of more civilians and many fighters remain trapped at the steel plant in Mariupol, but Russia has reportedly resumed shelling the plant

If you didn't know better, you might be expected to assume that those 100 civilians the UN and ICRC "have been able to evacuate" are already safely at their destination. Goodman described it in the same unqualified way, twice more in the show's segment on Ukraine
The Ukrainian government says about 100 people have been able to evacuate the besieged steel plant in Mariupol, where thousands of civilians and fighters have taken shelter in recent weeks as Russian forces took over most of the strategic port city. This comes after several previously arranged “humanitarian corridors” fell apart.
We are led to believe this one didn't fall apart, but we aren't told that  those 100 evacuees were still in Russian hands. And:
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government says about a hundred civilians have been able to evacuate the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol after the United Nations helped establish what it described as a safe passage operation.

It's only when she is introducing Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, that she mentions what she has been leaving out. Did she want to shortstop him from correcting her:
AMY GOODMAN: And as we speak, in Mariupol, you have perhaps a hundred people have been able to get out of the Azovstal steel plant, making their way to Zaporizhzhia,...

So, she knew all along that this humanitarian evacuation still had not arrived at its destination. Why didn't she say that in the first place?

UPDATE: As I go to publish, we have late word that some of these evacuees have reached Zaporizhzhia. Anushka Patti of the New York Times reported 33 minutes ago:

After some civilians who evacuated Mariupol over the weekend reached Zaporizhzhia on Monday, Zelensky said in his nightly address that evacuations would continue on Tuesday “through humanitarian corridors from Berdyansk, Tokmak, Vasylivka.”

This is good news, but still doesn't tell us that this evacuation has been successful—only that some have arrived. 

It's very good that Democracy Now has come around to a stance that appears to be in support of Ukraine's struggle against Russian imperialism, after years of scheduling guests who parroted every Putin conspiracy theory about Ukraine. But it needs to stop leaving inconvenient facts out, and coloring the news in such a way as to put Russian actions in the best possible light, even still.

Clay Claiborne

2 May 2022